WARREN (WWJ) – “This was a beat-down — this wasn’t discipline,” said Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green.
Police are investigating after a video was posted on Facebook showing a 14-year-old Warren boy being whipped by two family members.
According to Green, an investigation revealed the teen had been accused of stealing candy at Lincoln Middle School last fall. When visiting his home, Green said, two cousins ages 16 and 20 decided to teach the boy a lesson by whipping him with belts while a third family member shot video.
In a Free Press interview, Detective Sgt. Stephen Mills said the male suspect used racial slurs on the video and the female suspect chastised the victim for being a thief. “It was appalling,” Mills said, adding that the boy can be heard begging for them to stop.
Someone in Idaho saw the video last Saturday and call the police.
Charges are pending against the assailants.
“The two questions are: Who has the right to discipline a person; and the second one is, when does discipline cross the line and become criminal? This definitely crosses the line,” Green told WWJ Newsradio 950.
Police have been conducting interviews and plan to contact the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office soon. Child Protective Services also is involved in the case.
“With family members involved, sometimes there’s hesitation to want to go any further, and, you know, think that it was just a bad day,” Green said. “But, myself, the prosecutors, we’re kinda obligated to take it a step further and make sure this doesn’t happen again, and that the message is sent.”
Green says social media is allowing law enforcement to easily solve some crimes that might have gone unsolved not too many years ago.
The teen in this case didn’t suffer any long-lasting physical injuries as a result of the beating, police said, which took place earlier this year.
No names have been released.